Zimmerman's "stand your ground" hearing set for April

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George Zimmerman takes the stand during his bond hearing for the shooting death of Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Florida on Apr. 20, 2012. He has since entered a plea of not guilty.

Credit:

Pool

A judge in Sanford, Fla has set a date to hear George Zimmerman's "stand your ground" defense, which could see the second degree murder charge dismissed against the former neighborhood watch captain. 

Zimmerman claims that he shot unarmed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in self defense. 

The hearing was scheduled for 45 days before the June 10, 2013 trial, reports The Orlando Sentinel

The judge set the date while hearing requests by the prosecution for a gag order in the case. 

Assistant state attorney Bernie de la Rionda requested the order because he believes Zimmerman’s attorney, Mark O'Mara, has been using social media and a website to influence potential jurors in the case reports AP. 

De la Rionda told the judge he believes in free speech but that widespread comments on the Internet was "tainting the jury pool". 

‘‘My concern is if we are going to be able to pick a jury in Seminole County or anywhere else in the state of Florida?’’ De la Rionda told the judge. ‘‘Commenting on the credibility of witnesses? Why do we have an ethical rule about that?’’

O'Mara responded by saying his use of social media is necessary to cope with the "tidal wave" of information, about his client online, and the Martin family's efforts to "sway national public opinion in this case in favor of his client," reports the Orlando Sentinel. 

"What we have done was deal with a case that... was already in the throes of an enormous overriding tidal wave of misinformation," O'Mara said. 

The judge delayed ruling on the gag order until Monday.